A Feminist's Guide to Packing for Backcountry Canoe Camping

Happy Paddler with flawless backcountry skin

Happy Paddler with flawless backcountry skin

My name is Lori Andrews and I am a feminist. Just for fun, I added the word feminist to the title of this post because I want to include my thoughts on makeup. Here they are- I like makeup, some girls don’t. Whether you want to wear it in the back country or not is completely up to you. We recently completed our second tour of Bowron Lakes and I have received a few requests to talk about what to pack and what food to bring. When I started back country camping and canoeing, there were only a handful of bloggers and websites with detailed information on what to carry and what to avoid. One thing that really stood out for me was how disdainful some of the writers were around female specific needs and wants. Not every woman I know wears makeup or considers it a must, but I’m going to start this post off with a description of my back country makeup bag because I love makeup! I am a photographer who takes a lot of self portraits in order to tell my stories and I really prefer to look my best in photos, even when I’m struggling to paddle forward in a thunder shower. If makeup and hair are part of your interest, then this post and the links will be helpful. My fav Canadian Outdoor Store MEC has an awesome checklist for this exact trip that you can read for all of the other stuff you want to bring! I have no affiliation with any product I link here and I know the links won’t last forever so feel free to write me with questions! I will also tell you about my favourite food to pack. I’m a serious foodie who eats gluten free and mostly vegetarian so I made all of my own food on this last trip. I’ll include my GF energy bar recipe in this post. You gotta stand on top of it to make it really nice and compact. As for my clothing, I mixed things up a bit on this trip and I was way happier with what I brought. Instead of all the merino shirts I brought last time (too hot for me) , I packed synthetics. Lululemon leggings, t-shirt, tanks , technical sweatshirts were so comfortable and totally did the trick. I also packed a lole t-shirt, gortex jacket, rain pants, down puffer, and an ultralight wind jacket, underwear for everyday, 4 pairs of wool socks, and three bras. I have a high waist so Eddie Bauer technical shorts are my go to. I brought a swimsuit. Skinny dipping is best but sometimes there are people around ;) I love my water shoes from Astral and I highly recommend bringing quality rubber boots (learn from my mistake please)

  • Toiletries and makeup. My number 1 pro-tip is to get your eyelashes and eyebrows tinted (temporary) before heading out. I like to go to Frilly Lilly for this. For the face- Tinted Sunscreen , Eyelash Curler , Concealer ,Tinted Lip Balm , Multi-stick for cheeks, lips and eyes , Brow gel , Clinique Eye Chubby Stick, Makeup Remover and reusable makeup remover cotton pads from Canary Goods . Compact plastic edged mirror, foldable hairbrush, elastic hair bands, headbands, toque and brimmed hats, TRAVEL SIZE of the following- toothbrush, toothpaste & floss, dry shampoo, hair detangler, face cream, body lotion, wash cloth cut into 4 pieces for personal washing, quick dry towel, sunscreen, DEET insect repellent, Bug Net for over hat (no one looks good with mosquito bites on the face) , biodegradable compostable wipes (pack them out), birth control and tampons and feminine products. Oh ya! I wore a pair of continuous hoop earrings on this trip. I use an ultralight blow up pillow at night and the continuous hoops can’t pierce it plus they are really small and don’t get in the way at all.

    On this trip and most trips I wear my hair in two braids on either side towards the back of my head for the entire trip. I prefer to use clear elastics because they stay in place best. I have really curly/course hair if I don’t have access to a blow dryer, so, If I go swimming, I comb it out and re-braid it to dry. Even if you go the full 8 days, you really shouldn’t need to wash your hair with shampoo. Especially if you go swimming! You can’t use shampoo products in the water or any soap products even near the water. It kills the fish and habitat. I usually keep a suncreen lip balm in my pocket at all times (and a tinted balm because- pretty!)

    2. Food! We bought a dehydrator a couple of years ago and it was such a great purchase! For anytime treats I dehydrated apples, bananas and pineapple. For hot dinners we dehydrated vegetables and mushrooms to add to our hot dinner recipes. Fruit leather is awesome too. For breakfast I brought Creamy Hot Buckwheat Cereal . I packaged this in daily portion sizes with coconut milk powder, raisins, sugar and organic walnuts. I have this thermos so I only needed to put the breakfast cereal ingredients in it, add boiling water and put the lid on to make my breakfast. We often got up at dawn and it’s way easier to eat your breakfast later when you are already on the water then to make it all in pots and pans at 5:00 am. My little thermos worked awesome to rehydrate and prepare the Root Vegetable Bark Stew that we made! I highly recommend this recipe. We also loved this Hawaiian Shrimp and Pineapple recipe with rice. I packed GF tortillas and brought peanut butter for my lunches. Ken and I make a beef taco salad recipe that I love so much I happily devoured it after a long hard day of paddling but you could easily make a black bean taco salad if you’re full vegetarian. We dehydrated the ground beef, brought our own prepared from scratch Mexican inspired spice mixture, brought dehydrated garlic, onions, peppers, Cheddar cheese packs , and corn chips. it doesn’t matter if your corn tortilla chips get broken in advance because it’s a taco salad! Right? We prefer to rehydrate the ground beef meals on the camp stove since it’s nice to brown it in a bit of vegetable oil. We also brought instant rice, curry powders and more coconut milk for dinner recipes. I am a coffee addict so Starbucks Via instant coffee and coconut milk powder save the day. We brought Tea as well but no alcohol or juice. The fresh spring water is delicious (we treat with a UV pen). The best part about backcountry camping is the treats you will need to eat for fuel because you have burned off all your lunch! My recipe for gf energy bars is unique because I didn’t use oats at all! I used buckwheat as my base. I never feel great when I eat oats even though I buy the GF ones, which is why I came up with this recipe. These treats pack a great protein punch, lots of filling fibre and some chocolatey goodness without being too sweet.

    High Protein Buckwheat, Peanut Butter & Chocolate Bars.


  • 2 cups quinoa flakes

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Creamy Buckwheat

  • 1/2 cup flaxmeal

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

  • 1/2 cup organic raisins

  • 3/4 cup Enjoy Life semi-sweet mini chips

  • 8 tablespoons Adams Dark Roast Peanut Butter

  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

  • 2/3 cup maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x13 pan with lightly oiled tinfoil

  • Place vegetable oil, maple syrup, peanut butter and brown sugar in a bowl, stir well, whisk in vanilla and salt.

  • In a separate bowl, mix quinoa, buckwheat, flaxmeal and other dry ingredients together.

  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine. press the combined mixture into your baking pan very tightly ( if you have a cutting board that fits into your pan like I do- you can set that on top of the mixture and actually stand on the cutting board to press the bars super compact.) Bake for 15-20 minutes or until it appears toasted and fragrant. Move to fridge and wait until perfectly cool before slicing onto bars. individually wrap each bar in foil before freezing in advance of your trip.